Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bradbury Shelves, Part 3

So, this section of my "Bradbury Shelf" isn't all that different from the rest.  Near middle bottom, next to the "Big 30" mug are a collection of various tags from Cons I've attended the last three years.  Chief among them is my first NECON badge, (the little bat-thing right next to the mug), and in front of that, my badge to the first Horrorfind I ever attended, when I foolishly paid $300 for a dealer table to sell nothing but scattered anthologies, (because The Hiram Grange Chronicles took much longer to produce than any of us thought), and also where I first met author Brian Keene.  Every Horrorfind I've attended has been awesome, but you know what they say about firsts: somehow, nothing ever compares.

Behind the NECON badge peeks out a photo of what looks like an old house.  An old, abandoned Victorian house in the middle of a cornfield, to be exact.  Where I first decided I might want to write horror.  For the full story behind that, read this article at Flames Rising.   For some free fiction based on that house, go here and read The Sliding.  

Behind that is a CD, a compilation Gardner Goldsmith made of short stories - tricked out in full radio production - dedicated to Necon's 30th Anniversary.   Features one of my early short stories, "Therapy", and also another landmark...I started showing up with other writers in cool places.  

At middle bottom - though you can't tell, probably - is the remains of a half smoked cigar in a little plastic baggie. Sounds ridiculous, but that comes from Context 22, when - MICHAEL KNOST, of all people - asked little nobody me if I wanted to share a cigar with him.  Looped under that is a Shroud lanyard, and also an old "koosh" ball, given to me by a good friend long ago in high school.  Why is it there?  Random memories of good friends are just fun, period.

In the very middle is an old Prince Valiant comic.  Now, I never read the comic book itself, and am not sure where I came across THAT, but it used to run in the Sunday comics, and I used to read it pretty regularly.   The Sunday Comics used to be a BIG DEAL.  Especially when Spider-Man and the Phantom used to run strips, so that comic reminds me of those.

To the right you'll see another issue of The Hulk, one of the first I bought on my own dime in high school, and it was this issue - in particular - when I really started buying into Dr. Banner's plight, and how no one understood what it was like carrying a monster around inside him.  Right in front of that is a paper cup (just random) with a few pens in it, under that and next to it are two cases of full of emptied, used up pens.  I have this thing: first of all, I'm addicted to ONE PEN: a Pilot G2 .07In a pinch I'll write with anything, but given the choice, I'll take those every time.

And for some reason, during Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, I started saving them after they ran dry.  And it's become a "thing".  So, every Pilot G2 .07 I use and deplete, I save.  Don't ask me to explain it. That's what "things" are.  Things you do because you want to, but have no real explanation for.  Next to that is an empty can of Gridlock Lo Carb Energy Drink. This probably seems really strange, but seeing as how I get up every morning at 3 AM to write, I NEED my caffeine.  And I used to consume Monster Lo Carb by the liters.

But Monsters proved to be REALLY expensive.  Almost three bucks a can.  Two summers ago, I discovered Gridlock at Aldi's, for only .99 a can. And, can you beat it - they actually tasted better.  So, I went "indie" (ironic, given the state of the publishing world) with a low-market energy drink, and it's worked out just fine.  Behind that is a cool crossover issue featuring Batman and Spawn.  It's a cool issue, and I liked Todd McFarlane's work.  His Spiderman is still one of my favorite Spideys of all time. In front of that is one of Madi's first easter photos. With a live RABBIT, of all things.  Terminally cute.

Above that?  A framed picture of Abby and I, right before we got married.  That's the picture we used in all the wedding invitations, I believe. Above that, ironically, is a science fiction encyclopedia given to me by an ex girlfriend who knew nothing about the genre and cared little for it.  Sort of a "back-handed" gift, I guess you could say.  Still a cool book, though.

In the middle: a blue plaque, given to me by Davis College for my one year stint as men's basketball coach, (same team that did so well and bought me the trophy on the other end of the shelf), and a "Teacher of the Quarter" award, from my first year teaching at Seton Catholic Central High School.

Behind that are two things you can barely see, because: 1. I haven't framed them yet; 2. the wall in my office is bare concrete, and I'd need masonry equipment to hang them in the first place.  So I pulled both those up and took the following close-ups:

The poster with the blue "NJCAA", just barely visible in the above photo, is a banner from my college team's trip to the National Tournament my freshman year at Broome Community College.  All my teammates signed it.  I really need to frame it, keep it in as good a shape as I possibly can.   And, ironically, years later - teammates Andy Slocum and Paul Morrissey have gone on to be a cartoonist and a stand-up comedian, respectively.

The second is a poster for my first ever Barnes & Noble signing, back when I KNEW I was headed to the big time, after selling only two short stories, one to the first edition of The Midnight Diner, the other  - which I never got paid for - to a sketchy publisher that went belly-up soon after it opened its doors.  This  was in the early days of POD, and loser publishers like this caused lots of the brick and mortar stores to stop stocking POD titles (at least, that's my theory).  

Anyway, at the time I was writing a weekly column in our city newspaper, actually had a "following" of sorts, so had a decent crowd at the signing.  Better frame this baby, too.  Way things look now - for publishing in general - may never do a solo signing  in a Barnes & Noble ever again...

And that's it.  Last installment of the Bradbury shelves comes tomorrow, with maybe some other supplemental fun stuff from my office...